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03 March 2011

Congratulations to Gerard O'Neill on winning the 'Service To Sport' Award at The Banbridge District Sports Awards Reception in the Belmont Hotel last night Wednesday 2nd March.

You can see from the detail below just why Gerard is a very worthy recipient of this prestigious award.

Service To Sport 2010  - Gerard O’Neill


Coaching And Team Management

·         Has just completed 21 years as Ballyvarley Senior Hurling Manager

·         Managing and Coaching hurling and football teams in Aghaderg GFC and Ballyvarley HC since 1972(38 years) and in those 38 years he has managed an average of two teams per year and in some years, as in 2006, he managed three teams. Managed Juvenile football and hurling teams at U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16 and U-18 level

·         Managed Down Minor Hurling team to Special All-Ireland Minor Hurling Title in 1978

·         Managed Down Vocational Schools U-19 Hurling team to their only All-Ireland Final in Cork in 1979

·         Coach and selector to Down U-16 and Minor Hurling teams from 1976 to 1983, before concentrating on coaching club teams

·         A Staff Hurling Coach at Croke Park between 1976 to 1982 and coached in this capacity throughout southern Ulster in Counties Down, Cavan, Armagh and Monaghan

·         Coached/managed U-14 and U-16 Hurling teams in St Marks High School, Warrenpoint for the last 34years, winning a succession of Down County Titles at both age groups

·         Co Down’s first Director of Coaching for Hurling (1984, 1985)

·         Played both senior hurling and football for the club for 26 years



·         A member of the Aghaderg GFC and Ballyvarley HC Committee for the last 38 years

o    Club Chairman for 3 years (1990, 1991 and 1996)

o    Club Secretary for 7 years (1980-84; 1986-87)

o    Club Hurling Secretary for 23 years (1975-79; 1985, 1988-2004)

o    Club PRO for 16 years(1971-1984,1990-91), Club Hurling PRO for 30 years

·         Served on the Down Hurling Board for 19 years(1973-1985; 1994-5; 2006-9), holding the following executive positions –

Down Juvenile Hurling League Secretary (4 years),

Down Juvenile Committee Chairman (2 years),

Down Hurling Development Committee Chairman (2 years),

Down Hurling Development Committee Secretary (2 years);

Secretary of the Down Hurling Referees Board (2 years)

·         Co Down’s first Director of Coaching for Hurling (1984, 1985)

·         Served on Down Youth Board for 3 years (1972-3; 1975)

·         Hurling Referee (4 years)  (1977-1980)


2006 Season

·         Coached and managed three club teams this season, as well as the St Marks, Warrenpoint school team that won the Down Vocational Schools U-16 Championship and reached the Vocational Schools U-16 Hurling Final.

·         Coached and managed Ballyvarley Senior Hurling Team and took them from the threat of extinction at the start of the season to their first Down Junior Hurling Championship Trophy in 31 years winning for the first time since 1975.

·         Managed/coached the Ballyvarley Minor Hurling team that had a successful season, reaching the semi-final of the Down Minor Championship

·         Managed/coached the Ballyvarley U-16 Hurling team that enjoyed a successful season, finishing third in the league and reaching the semi-final of the Down U-16 Championship where they were unlucky to lose to an injury-time goal from Carryduff


2007/2008 Seasons

·          Managed Club Minor Hurling team to CountyChampionship success in 2007 with victory over Clonduff in the final.

·          Gerard has also continued as manager of the Club Senior Hurling team through 2007 and 2008 as well as being Hurling Board Rep on the Down County Board.


2009 Season


·          Gerard has  continued as manager of the Club Senior Hurling team through 2009 as well as being Hurling Board Rep on the Down County Board.


·          He devised a new coaching scheme about 20 years ago for our 7 to 12 year old children, which he has since modified and put in place in 2009. This focuses on the holistic development of the children with an emphasis of course, on the skills of the game for both Hurling and Camogie.


·          2009 Senior Hurling League DIV. 2 Champions


·          Gerard  as Senior Hurling team manager led his charges to a first league title in 35 years.


·          Gerard has given of his time and expertise to his club now for over 40 years continuously teaching and coaching the young and the more mature members of our teams. This dedication has meant that he is a well-known and respected figure within Hurling and GAA circles in general and his selfless dedication has been a credit to him and his club. Many young players have come through the ranks under his tutelage to achieve honours at the highest level with National medals in their pocket. We as a club are indebted to his efforts in the interest of the sport and the community in general that he has so generously served for this long period. Gerard has been committed to the games in our community and we hope he will continue to coach and encourage our youth for many years to come.